© Koa Koppenhöfer

The Vulva Statement

Luise Zücker is more than jewelry, more than art, more than fashion. The feminist jewelry couture label with the bold vulva-inspired statement pieces is a conversation starter, a community – you could almost call it a movement for everyone who wants to tap into their feminine side.

After years of working in the fashion scene, Berlin-based Luise Zücker felt the need to create something that is more sustainable, personal and lovable than just fashion. Something that hits deeper. Something a mother can give to her daughter and hold close to their heart, with a little glitz and sweetness on top. Or a lot thereof! After all, her German Alias “Zücker” translates to “sugar” with an Umlaut. We sat down with Luise to talk about her past, the present Berlin fashion scene and exciting future. (Read until the very end for some PYNK fun!)

© Kristina Kast

Hi Luise! I know you just celebrated your first anniversary with your own jewelry brand but I also know that you’ve come a long way. Please tell us a little bit about you – where do you come from, what made you start a career in fashion and where have you worked before?

Oh yes, that was a blast. We had pink food and champagne in my atelier, really a magical night!

And yes it’s been a ride. I guess I always liked to play with my appearance. I remember I was four years old, driving my mom crazy because all my clothes had to have the same color. Even my underwear! So there were blue days, red days, purple days… I am still always late for any party, because I sit in front of my sewing machine to quickly sew a new outfit.

After High School I trained to be a seamstress to learn how to make clothes from scratch. And then my dream came true: I was accepted to study fashion design in Hamburg and Berlin. I soaked up everything and worked in any workshop I could get in. So I also got into plastics, metal work and accessories. My masters degree was my first jewelry collection. To support my studies I worked in styling and night clubs – which got me into making stage outfits and jewelry headpieces for artists and musicians. I truly love working with other creatives and collaborating on projects. For example, when I worked in New York I designed a whole runway collection in collaboration with the women’s wear label VPL. Those are my two worlds: working with other designers and artists and running my ready to wear jewelry label.

© Kristina Kast

What made you wanna start your own label?

I have worked as a fashion designer for many other people and labels. I learned a lot, but there were also points where I felt really burned out. Fashion is annoyingly fast and can be very exhausting. I love it and had the most exciting times. But honestly – it brakes my heart to see how rapid collections and pieces are not relevant any more. You pour your heart into a design and 3 months later the market demands something new. Don’t even talk sustainability! All my jewelry pieces and packaging are produced in Germany and Italy. Jewelry lasts over seasons, years and even generations. I adore the valency and slowness of that. I believe a strong accessory can cary any outfit and it fits in every suitcase. I love coming to a shoot now with small luggage.

How would you describe the Berlin fashion scene and what is your wish for its future?

It’s very creative, inspiring and pretty underground. It is often intertwined with nightlife and diversity. But it’s tough to survive as a small independent label. You need to reach out and sell your designs. Which kind of goes against the nature of an artistic soul. You need funding for bigger projects and good marketing. It’s essential to exchange experiences and work together with other designers to expand your mindset. Way too often, we still struggle on our own instead of helping each other. It needs platforms and affordable spaces where that exchange can happen.

“I see myself as a female entrepreneur, working my business in an intuitive way and not with a bulldozer.”

Luise Zücker

What is something you would like to change in the fashion industry? How can one be a role model?

I heard an amazing saying the other day: “There is a stabilized misery in Berlin design.” Designers often work for credit only or way too little pay. Design is somehow considered to be worth less than art. Also ‘it’s fun’ so why should one be payed for it? I am working a lot to change my mindset here. What is my work’s worth? What am I worth? Especially as a woman I find that really important. Everyone should think about what they buy and how much they spend on it. How much are we worth to ourselves? I see myself as a female entrepreneur, working my business in an intuitive way and not with a bulldozer. I always try to stay connected to my inner voice or gut or whatever you want to call it. My message is to be reminded of our inner strength, possibilities and self-worth. I see my vulva jewelry pieces as little daily reminders for that. Don’t be overwhelmed by what you are supposed to do, but listen to yourself, stand up for your worthiness and speak from your heart.

“My message is to be reminded of our inner strength, possibilities and self worth. I see my vulva jewelry pieces as little daily reminders for that.”

Luise Zücker

How would you describe Luise Zücker to an outsider in 3 words?

Pink positive power.

© Kristina Kast

You are building quite a community. How many people have the Luise Zücker vulva as a tattoo already and I heard in one of your super entertaining live streams sales that it comes with some benefits?

Yes! I was so touched and impressed. I think more than 5 people already got a vulva tattoo. Some people that I don’t even know, they just liked the shape I drew. I wanted the VULVA jewelry collection to be an elegant statement. Something you can wear any day, anywhere. That people put it onto their actual skin is a great honor! I was deeply moved when I heard from a store that best friends come in to buy and split the mini vulva ear dangle pair as a sign of their friendship. Like these little 90s heart necklaces. When I learned that my earrings became kind of a symbol, I had tears in my eyes! It’s also really fun that they became kind of a recognition sign. I often bump into people at a party, they proudly present their vulva earring and we start talking about feminism.

“When I learned that my earrings became kind of a symbol, I had tears in my eyes!”

Luise Zücker
© Kristina Kast

What’s next for you?

Everything will be PYNK! I am working on my new pink vulva collection. For the financing I am doing a Startnext campaign where all supporters can already pre-order and score the first designs for a lower price. For me, that’s a way to realize my ideas without going straight into debt and I already see what goes down well. When all works out as planned, I want to celebrate my 2 year anniversary with a hyper PYNK female power event in September in Berlin. So we can celebrate female art, fashion and design, dance to a female line up, as well as performances and concerts. So exited to make that happen, it’s been dream of mine for a long time!

Thank you, Luise! We’re very excited to wear the PYNK collection and celebrate with you at the event! Fingers crossed! Support the Luise Zücker PYNK collection on Startnext here

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All Photos by Kristina Kast

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